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Area Community College Students to Train Local Residents
On Computer Skills

California Connects equips Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) students with laptops, software and Internet access

(March 25, 2011) Approximately 200 local community college students from San Diego City and Southwestern Colleges are receiving free, state-of-the-art laptops to train local residents on computer literacy. As part of the Colleges’ Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) programs, students will teach individuals who lack access to or knowledge of the Internet how to apply for college, find a job, access health and finance resources and engage with social networks.

‘‘This is a very exciting opportunity,’’ said City College MESA Director Rafael Alvarez. ‘‘The training and technology tools will greatly help our MESA students to succeed in college, and the students will develop key skills by providing necessary digital literacy training to underserved communities.”  

Dr. Raga Bahkiet

Dr. Raga Bahkiet

“This is a twofold benefit to our community: service learning empowers our MESA students as educators and the community at large as learners of skills essential to be competitive in today’s eceonomy,” Southwestern College MESA Director Dr. Raga Bakhiet said.

Students will receive a laptop fully equipped with state-of-the-art technology provided by HP, Microsoft, AT&T and Insight and provided outreach and hands-on training through the Microsoft IT Academy Program, giving them an opportunity to attain certification in Word, PowerPoint or Excel. Over the next three years, a total of 5,800 laptops will be distributed to MESA students at 33 California Community College campuses, enabling them to educate others and ultimately help increase the number of broadband Internet users in California by more than 61,000 individuals.

Designed to increase digital literacy and broadband access among underserved communities, California Connects, is funded by a $10.9 million Broadband Technology Opportunities Program grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Officially launched earlier this week, California Connects will address a significant need and a widening digital divide that exists for many populations. An August 2010 study by the Public Policy Institute of California found that, while the digital divide has narrowed significantly among some demographic groups, a gap remains for Latinos, especially those from Spanish-speaking and economically disadvantaged households. California Connects is a program of the Foundation for California Community Colleges.



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